[531. {534.}1 Dabbamalla2]

The Victor, Padumuttara,
the Sage, Knower of Every World,
the One who had [Five] Eyes, arose
a hundred thousand aeons hence. (1) [5769]

The Admonisher,3 Instructor,4
Crosser-Over5 of all that breathe,
Skilled at Preaching,6 [he], the Buddha,
caused many folks to cross [the flood]. (2) [5770]

Merciful,7 Compassionate One,8
Well-Wisher9 of all that breathe, he
established in the five precepts
all the rivals who had arrived. (3) [5771]

In this way he was Unconfused10
and Very Well-Known11 by rivals,
Ornamented12 by arahants
who were masters [and] neutral ones. (4) [5772]

The [body of the] Sage So Great
rose up fifty-eight cubits13 [tall];
he was Valuable Like Gold,14
Bearing the Thirty-Two Great Marks. (5) [5773]

[People’s] lifespan at that time was
[fully] one hundred thousand years.
Remaining [in the world] so long,
he ferried many folks across. (6) [5774]

I was then a millionaire’s son
in Haṃsavatī, of great fame.
Approaching the Lamp of the World,15
I heard the preaching of Dhamma. (7) [5775]

I was happy after hearing
the words of [the Buddha] praising
his follower, the [monk who was]
appointing lodgings16 for the monks. (8) [5776]

[My] head bowed at the feet of the
Great Sage, I aspired to attain
that place, [foremost] among those who
do the Assembly's management. (9) [5777]

At that time the Great Hero spoke;17
he praised my karma [in this way]:
“Who fed the Leader of the World,
with the Assembly, for a week, (10) [5778]

whose eyes are [just like] lotus leaves,
lion-shouldered, with golden skin;
fallen down in front of my feet,
he has wished for that [foremost] place. (11) [5779]

In one hundred thousand aeons,
arising in Okkāka’s clan,
the one whose name is Gotama
will be the Teacher in the world. (12) [5780]

That Buddha’s follower [will be]
well-known by the name of Dabba.
This one is going to be the top
assigner of the lodgings then.” (13) [5781]

Due to that karma done very well,
with intention and [firm] resolve,
discarding [my] human body,
I went to Tāvatiṃsa [then]. (14) [5782]

Three hundred times [the lord of gods,]
I exercised divine rule [there],
and [then] five hundred times I was
a king who turns the wheel [of law]. (15) [5783]

[There was also] much local rule,
innumerable by counting.
Through the power of that karma,
I was happy in every place. (16) [5784]

The Leader known as Vipassi,
with Insight into Everything,18
Charming-Eyed One, arose in the
world, ninety-one aeons ago. (17) [5785]

Evil-minded, I reproached a
follower of that Neutral One
who had destroyed all defilements,
despite having known, “he is pure.” (18) [5786]

Having provided meal-tickets,19
I offered rice [well-cooked] in milk
to great sages, the followers
of that very Hero of Men.20 (19) [5787]

During this auspicious aeon
Brahmā’s Kinsman, Greatly Famed One,
named Kassapa through [his] lineage,21
Best Debater,22 [Buddha,] arose. (20) [5788]

Lighting up the dispensation,
overcoming evil rivals,
instructing the instruct-able, he
reached nirvana,23 with followers.24 (21) [5789]

Hair-loosened, teary-faced, the gods,
were moved [and] they wept when the Lord
and students reached nirvana, [his]
dispensation reaching25 [its] goal: (22) [5790]

“Alas! We have little merit.
The Dhamma-Eye passes away.26
We’ll not see the compliant ones,
we will not hear the great Teaching.” (23) [5791]

[Just] then the whole of this [great] earth,
which is unshaking, shook with shakes,
and the ocean, as though in grief,27
was crying a piteous song. (24) [5792]

[And] drums in [all] four directions,
were played by non-human beings;
lightening burst out28 from everywhere,
frightening29 [beings who were there]. (25) [5793]

Meteors30 fell down from the sky,
and he whose flag is smoke31 was32 seen.
The wild beasts roared piteously,
and all the creatures born on earth. (26) [5794]

Seeing fierce omens33 marking34 the
setting of the dispensation,35
moved, we monks who [still remained] there,
then thought [about it in this way]: (27) [5795]

“[Now], without our36 dispensation,
enough with life [itself for us].
Entering the forest we’ll strive
in the Victor’s dispensation.” (28) [5796]

We saw a tall, superb mountain
[there] in the forest at that time.
Ascending by a flight of stairs,37
we fell down38 on the flight of stairs. (29) [5797]

Then an elder39 admonished us:
“A Buddha’s rising’s hard to get;
well-got for you is getting faith,
the dispensation’s small remnant.
Fallen down they’re missing [their] chance,
in the endless suffering-sea.
Therefore strong effort should be made
while the Sage’s thought remains.” (30-31) [5798-5799]

That elder was an arahant,
a non-returner followed him.40
Fixed in good morality, the
rest [of us] went to the gods’ world. (32) [5800]

In the pure abode that one [monk]41
reached nirvana, crossed existence;42
[but] I and Pukkusāti [too],
Sabhiya, likewise Bāhiya,
so too Kumāra-Kassapa,
reborn here and there we are [now]43
freed from the bonds of existence,
pitied by Gotama [Buddha]. (33-34) [5801-5802]

Born a Kusināran Malla,
even in the womb I’m conscious.
Dead mother44 raised up on a pyre;
I was [one who] fell out45 from that. (35) [5803]

I landed46 on a pile of wood;47
therefore I was known as “Dabba.”48
Through the strength of holy living,49
I was freed, [just] seven years old. (36) [5804]

Due to the fruit of the milk-rice,50
I’m endowed with the five fine traits;51
due to reproaching the pure monk,52
I was urged by many bad folks.53 (37) [5805]

Now I am one who’s passed beyond
both merit and evil [karma].
Attaining supreme peacefulness,
I am [now] living, undefiled. (38) [5806]

Making the compliant ones laugh,
I appointed lodgings [for them].
The Victor, pleased by54 that virtue,
[then] placed me in that foremost place. (39) [5807]

My defilements are [now] burnt up;
all [new] existence is destroyed.
Like elephants with broken chains,
I am living without constraint. (40) [5808]

Being in Best Buddha’s presence
was a very good thing for me.
The three knowledges are attained;
[I have] done what the Buddha taught! (41) [5809]

The four analytical modes,
and these eight deliverances,
six special knowledges mastered,
[I have] done what the Buddha taught! (42) [5810]

Thus indeed Venerable Dabbamallaputta Thera spoke these verses.

The legend of Dabbamallaputta Thera is finished.


  1. Apadāna numbers provided in {fancy brackets} correspond to the BJTS edition, which contains more individual poems than does the PTS edition dictating the main numbering of this translation.

  2. BJTS reads Dabba. In the colophon both PTS and BJTS give “Dabbamallaputta,” “Dabba the son of the Mallians”. A historical monk, famous as the foremost among those who assigned lodgings (senāsanapaññāpakānaṃ, lit., “beds and chairs”), see DPPN I:1059-1060. “He was called Dabba because he was said to be born of his mother while she was being burnt in the funeral pyre; when the flames were extinguished, the child was found lying on one of the posts of the pyre (dabbatthambhe)” I translate this term (dabbapuñjamhi) more literally as “pile of wood.” The name Dabba means “wood”.

  3. ovādako

  4. viññāpako

  5. tārako

  6. desanākusalo

  7. anukampako

  8. kāruṇiko

  9. hitesi

  10. nirākulaŋ

  11. suñññataŋ, or “empty [of ill-will],” which is BJTS Sinhala gloss reading; I construe the epithet as su + ñata

  12. vicchittaŋ

  13. ratanāna-aṭṭha-paññāsaŋ uggato. A ratana (Sinh. riyan) is figured as twelve-fingers (aṅgula), according to Sinh-Eng Dictionary about eighteen inches. The claim here then is that Padumuttara Buddha was about 1044 inches (or 87 feet) tall.

  14. kañcchanagghiyasaṅkāso, lit., “like a gold valuable thing” or “like a gold festoon work”

  15. lokapajjotaŋ

  16. lit., “beds [and] chairs” or “beds and food”

  17. reading tadā ‘bhāsi mahāvīro with BJTS for PTS tadahaŋ sa mahāvīro

  18. sabbadhammavipassako

  19. or “counting sticks:” salākaŋ

  20. tasseva naravīrassa

  21. reading gottena with BJTS for PTS nāmena (“named” “known as”)

  22. vadataŋvaro

  23. nibbuto

  24. sasāvako, or perhaps, taking this as an epithet, “He with Followers passed away.” But the following verse reinforces the reading that his nirvana was itself a corporate event, occurring simultaneously with the nirvana-realizations of his followers (sāvaka, “listeners”) or students (sissa).

  25. entamhi, fr. eti, loc. abs. construction

  26. nibbāyissati dhammakkho (BJTS reads °akho), lit., “the eye of Dhamma will reach nirvana”

  27. sāgaro ccha sasoko va

  28. reading phaliṃsu with BJTS for PTS patiŋsu, fell down, avoiding the redundancy with the next verse in keeping with the eloquence of this passage.

  29. lit., “carrying fear to”

  30. ukkā, “fiery things”. Elsewhere the term more directly refers to fire or a firebrand itself, but this meaning of the term is appropriate here both because these “fires” fall from the sky and because the following miracle, distinguished with an “and” (ccha), specifies fire as such. Cty (p. 506) gives aggikhandhā, “great masses of fire”

  31. dhūmaketu, that is, “fire”

  32. lit., “is”

  33. uppāde dāruṇe

  34. sūvake, lit., “making manifest” “indicating,” see Buddhadatta Pāli-Sinhala Akārādiya, s.v.

  35. “setting” as in the setting of the sun, reading sāsanatthagama-suvake (read sūvake) with BJTS for PTS sāsanatthañ ccha sūcchakaŋ

  36. reading sāsanena vināmhākaṃ with BJTS for PTS sāsanena vinā sammā

  37. reading nisseṇiyā with BJTS for PTS nisseniyā

  38. reading pātayimhase with BJTS for PTS pātayiṃhase

  39. thero

  40. i.e., to nirvana, as opposed (and superior) to heaven or "the gods' world”

  41. i.e., the “non-returner” accompanying the arahant (who went nowhere at all, i.e., who had no more rebirth in any abode)

  42. nibbuto tiṇṇasaŋsāro

  43. lit., “went up to,” following BJTS Sinh. gloss and reading with BJTS tattha tatthupagā mayaṃ for PTS tattha tatth’ upagāmiyaŋ (“he went up to here and there”)

  44. reading matā mātā with BJTS (and PTS alt. cited as mātā mātā?) for PTS mātā pitā (“mother and father”)

  45. reading nippatito with BJTS (and PTS alt.) for PTS nibbattito, “produced” “brought forth”

  46. lit., “fallen”

  47. dabba-puñjamhi

  48. “Wood”

  49. or “of celibacy”, reading brahmacchāribalena with BJTS (and cf. PTS alt. brahmacchara) for PTS brahmaccheraphalena (“through the fruit of Brahma-[]?”)

  50. see above, v. 19 [5797]; this was a pious act done by the protagonist during the time of Vipassi Buddha

  51. pañcchaṅgehi upāgato. RD, the “five gentlemanly qualities” of a king or brahmin are sujāta (good birth), ajjhāyaka (education, learning in the Vedas), abhirūpa (handsomeness), sīlavā (moral conduct) and paṇḍita (wisdom)

  52. lit., “the one whose defilements are destroyed,” i.e., “the arahant”. BJTS reads khīṇāsavopavādena for PTS’ misleading ungrammatical khīṇāsavo pavādena (“because of the arahant reproaching” rather than “because of reproaching the arahant”)

  53. pāpehi bahu cchodito

  54. lit., “in”